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PH vote-buying in the eyes of a Gen Z

by Kiera Angelika A. Magbanua

Cagayan de Oro — In the Philippines, vote buying happens more frequently than you think, to the point that it has become so normalized. See, vote buying is a strategy employed by elected officials to influence the results of the elections. In addition, this can affect the political landscape of our nation in several ways, such as: destroying democracy; granting wealthy people or organizations an unfair advantage; encouraging corruption in political systems; tearing down public trust; and marginalizing underprivileged groups.

In order to provide additional context for the effects of vote buying listed above, I will expound on each of these. First, vote buying destroys democracy. So, what is democracy?

Democracy entails the expression of free will to exercise one’s right as a voter. However, if votes are being bought and sold, this is destroyed. It is ruined because these elected leaders simply exploit the voters as a means to further their own agendas. Second, vote buying grants wealthy people or organizations an unfair advantage.

Since affluent elected officials have influence over the political outcomes, justice for each individual voter might not be exhibited. Third, vote buying encourages corruption in political systems. In this case, the interests of those who offer monetary benefits will take precedence over the interests of the general populace.

Fourth, vote buying tears down public trust. Each individual looks to the government to provide them with a stable life. However, this trust will be shattered if they discover the truth about votes being bought and sold. As a result, it can lead to a decrease in political participation. Last, vote buying marginalizes underprivileged groups. It can worsen existing social injustices, especially regarding the socioeconomic status of society.

It achieves this by enhancing the power and influence of wealthy individuals or groups, which could contribute to the marginalization of disadvantaged communities. In light of these circumstances, I can thus state that our country lacks good governance. Consequently, a philosophical concept that is related to this is Confucianism. In particular, Confucianism talks about the cultivation of good governance, morals and virtues. Now, what does Confucius say about this? He said that he has recognized the problem of governance.

To add, he mentioned that good governance does not indicate the influence of power over other people, rather it is leadership that comes with a vision toward a moral or righteous path. Also, he stated that good governance should be built around the idea of moral responsibility. Considering this, it is evident that the Philippine government is not practicing their moral responsibility in serving the Filipino citizens. From my perspective, it looks as though their thirst for power over others takes priority above the fair governance of the people.

Perhaps to them, they see us as just numbers on a sheet of paper—or, perhaps more accurately, as votes that will help them win the elections. For this reason, it will only lead to our own demise as a nation, making a huge impact on several Filipino lives. To add, Confucius asserted that good governance is grounded in the ‘Rectification of Names.’ So, what is this ‘Rectification of Names’?

It is a philosophical concept that talks about the process of how people should conduct themselves in public. Considering the circumstances surrounding vote buying that I previously mentioned, it seems to me that these political figures are unfit for office due to their public behavior.

Moreover, it looks as though they are unable to withhold their morals and virtues while leading and serving the Filipino people. Besides that, Confucius also emphasized the notion of the ‘Superior Man’ as a Man of Virtue. Well, what is it?

‘Superior Man’ as a Man of Virtue is a philosophical concept that refers to a leader whose good moral character enables them to govern the people in a just way. In accordance with this, I believe that political officials should exemplify this philosophical concept, so as to support the growth of our country as a whole. On account of this, I feel that the current state of the Philippine government can be improved if us, Filipino citizens, exhibited a collective effort in addressing the issue of vote buying. In what way can this be addressed? By simply protesting against the political officials who do not exercise their moral responsibilities.

Protesting is a great way to let our voices be heard by these political leaders. As a result, we are able to apply pressure on them by demanding accountability and transparency during election cycles. In conclusion, I was able to present my opinions about vote buying with the use of philosophical concepts like, ‘Confucianism’,‘Rectification of Names’ and ‘Superior Man as a Man of Virtue.’


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